Archive for ◊ December, 2009 ◊

22 Dec 2009 Echoes Article Jan/Feb 2010
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I was just thinking…. January 2010
Here we are a new year started and trying to come to terms with getting the correct year number whenever we write it down. Even though this is a new year I am finding that, as I age, more time is spent in reflecting on where I have come from than what is ahead of me. The thought of aging isn’t any concern for me it’s just that through many different areas of my life I find it enjoyable to think through the process of “what was”.
We are now empty nesters. A term that has been coined by couples who need to learn how to live with each other, again. So Brett has now bought a house and his family is settling in nicely here in Steinbach. Our Britta has moved from Edmonton to Calgary and is finding the move challenging but doing well. That leaves Audrey and myself to spend time by ourselves, no people to shuttle, no extra food to prepare, no waiting for the last one to come home so that we can get a good nights sleep.
We have been looking forward to this phase of our lives and have talked about it often. Audrey has done a good job of preparing me to what her expectations are and at times I even thought about it. So last fall we made some decisions. We registered with the Steinbach Arts Council for ballroom dancing lessons. This is an effort to spend time together that is just for the two of us.
For those of you who want an interesting experience I would suggest taking ballroom dance lessons. Course the first step would be for you to come to terms with the words dancing and Mennonite in the same thought process. Just so that we are clear it hasn’t lead to an increase in alcohol use or staying out till all hours. Matter of fact is that we are too tired to dance all night and water is just fine as we do work up a good sweat during the hour long lesson and two hour practice. It has led to more quality time spent together doing things that complement just Audrey and myself.
Like in many things we do, dance lessons have opened my eyes to another area I need to work on. Ballroom dancing with your partner is to understand that you both need to be thinking the same thing at the same time so that you move together to make it happen. Few things in our marriage would prepare one for dancing together. For example when I move forward with my left foot, Audrey would need to move backwards with her right foot, pretty straight forward until you add a turn or spin. I found out that only one lesson per week was important, it gave Audrey’s toes a chance to heal. They got stomped regularly the first couple of lessons. The information we got when we registered was that we needed to commit to practicing for 15 min a day at home. We haven’t been too bad at practicing but not nearly enough to be good at the one piece we learnt so that we could move on. Each lesson builds on the last lesson, so if you don’t practice one falls behind.
It was the third lesson of frustration that Audrey walked off the floor and left me standing there all by myself. I found out that it is hard to complete ballroom dancing by yourself. It had been explained to me earlier that the toughest lesson to learn was that the man leads, the woman follows, but the only job the man has is to make his partner look good. All hard to do when you are standing by yourself. On the way home it was clearly explained to me that this wasn’t about me or getting it perfect or worth getting all upset about. Then I found out that it was about spending time together doing something that we should both enjoy.
The next lesson went much better and my attitude had been properly adjusted and I worried less about what we looked like and more about why we where spending time together. What I have learnt in life is that things like ballroom dancing, riding bike, working through problems and struggling with issues takes one thing. That one thing is a determination to see it through along with a view to the end result. Focusing on the little things so that we move in the right direction towards the ultimate goal makes the journey enjoyable and rewarding.
We have completed our first set of lessons and registered for our second set in early 2010. I wonder at times how strange it is that my feet don’t hear the music like my ears do. Somehow I need to improve that connection. What I have found is a night out each week with Audrey along other couples who enjoy spending time with each other doing something that is alittle different and practicing at home has become fun way to spend time together.
During my last 53 years on earth one life lesson I have learnt it that persistence with the little things do get rewarded. Daily bible study using the devotional “Daily Bread” has helped me in my relationship with God and a much better understanding of finding God in all things. That time I spend each morning concentrating on a brief passage of scripture then reading someone’s thoughts have helped me through some rough days. The writing often lend themselves to the events of the day and we are reminded, again, how great our God is.

01 Dec 2009 Council study session Nov ’09
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We just concluded our City of Steinbach Council Study Session in which we discussed our 2010 budget.
The agenda was spent reviewing our capital and operational projects that we feel the City needs.  What I found interesting was the different opinions that were shared by the Mayor and councilors against how staff viewed the priorities. In each of our situations we have our own views regarding the different priorities. In each case our life experiences mixed with our perceptions along with our peer group, then add in our own expectations of why we were elected. All this makes for interesting dynamics as the discussions take place.

We do have big expenditures coming to our community. With our growth continuing at a big pace it is reaching the point where dollars need to be spent to upgrade our infrastructure along with needed amenities. How does one do this in an economic down-turn in attempting to hold the line on taxes, receiving fewer grants and more Provincial and Federal requirements.

Over the next couple of months the recommendations we set out will be brought to the public through our council meetings.  Each item will be discussed again in a public form so councilors can publicly speak to each issue.

Interesting times indeed!